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Exercise Trident Juncture 2018 Ends, the Good Work Continues
In the latest edition of his podcast “On the Horizon: Navigating the European and African Theaters,” Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, discussed the end of exercise Trident Juncture 2018 and the successes and challenges of that exercise. In addition he discussed the NATO allied supreme commanders conference and his time at Flanders Field during Veterans Day.
The NATO Alliance and the Conclusion of Trident Juncture
“Trident Juncture was the largest NATO exercise since the end of the Cold War, and it really demonstrated that NATO is ready to defend and deter across the entire alliance,” said Foggo. “It really tested our ability to conduct a major collective defense operation, from troop training at the tactical level to command of large forces.”
Speaking to the U.S. military contribution to the exercise, Foggo continued to say “When you look at the contribution of those ships, those Marines, all the personnel in support, and then the personnel that are here in Europe that are Americans who were part of Trident Juncture, it's almost 18,000 service members, 140 aircraft, eight ships and 900 vehicles. Absolutely impressive.”
The exercise was successful in that it certified the NATO Response Force (NRF) and fostered stronger ties between the 29 nation alliance and its partners, Norway and Sweden.
He closed this segment by addressing the concerns that many had regarding the timing of the exercise. “One of the things that we took advantage of was the opportunity to do this in October and November. I made mention of the fact that when I was in the States, people asked me, ‘Hey, why did you do this in October and November? It's pretty nasty and cold in the high north at that time of year.’ And that's exactly why: We wanted to stress the force.”
Foggo next discussed the sudden notice to airmen (NOTAM) that the Russian military issued in the middle of Trident Juncture.
“The secretary general of NATO, when he came to the distinguished visitor’s day and spent a day with us, had several press conferences and he was asked about [the NOTAM]. And his answer is my answer, and that is we operate in the oceans of the world in what we call the global commons. They're called ‘the commons’ for a reason.
The Russians laid down this area in international waters and, quite frankly, it didn't really cause a change in anything that we did. We simply worked through it and worked around it. And so, to tell you the truth, it was no big deal.”
Foggo pointed out that the NOTAM was in international waters and really had no affect on the exercise. In the end, the missile launch mentioned in the NOTAM never happened.
Flanders Field on Veterans Day
While in Belgium for the NATO commander’s conference, Foggo went to Flanders Field American Cemetery Memorial on Armistice Day to pay tribute to those who lost their lives during World War I.
Of his time there, “It was a great honor for me to go to Flanders Fields where there were probably 364 known graves and about 41 other unknown soldiers buried there.”
Foggo went into his family history that is directly connected to Flanders Field. Some of Foggo’s relatives fought in both World Wars and some were engaged in skirmishes that took place in that area.
He ended the segment by saying, “I'm reminded by a statement that was made by General “Black Jack” Pershing during the First World War. ‘Time will not dim the glory of their deeds.’ I firmly believe that. We've got to continue to remember the sacrifice that was made by those great Americans and those great allied forces.”
“On the Horizon: Navigating the European and African Theaters” is available on Sound Cloud and iTunes
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U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.